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Whether you’re writing a 100-character teaser on Twitter, a compelling blog, an attention-grabbing post or a short video script, content is what drives social media interaction, says social media expert Patricia Redsicker.
Patricia RedsickerWhether you’re writing a 100-character teaser on Twitter, a compelling blog, an attention-grabbing post or a short video script, content is what drives social media interaction, says social media expert Patricia Redsicker.
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Social media is about content and content is about having conversations, according to Redsicker, social media manager for U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) and a former social media consultant for dermatologists and others.
“It’s a vehicle for transporting content. If you don’t have content, then social media is a useless tool,” Redsicker says.
Social media content shouldn’t be blatantly self-promotional. Rather, it should strike chords with the audience and solve problems, according to Redsicker.
“Anytime, as a dermatologist, you post a blog, you always have to ask yourself: How is this article helping somebody solve their problems? If it is not, then just strike it immediately because nobody is going to read it,” Redsicker says.
For example, blogging or posting about a new technology at a dermatology practice offers no value to readers unless the dermatologist explains how the technology solves patients’ problems.
To work in the world of social media, content has to be relevant and high quality, says Naren Arulrajah, CEO of Ekwa.com, a marketing firm that works with more than 200 doctors, including a large percentage of dermatologists.
“You have to really know who your audience is and what gets them excited. And create content that is consistent with your brand,” he says.
That doesn’t mean you have to recreate the content entirely, just repackage with your message and brand. Make sure it’s accurate, based on expert and credible sources.
Delivering timely and relevant social media content means keeping up with social media conversations. It takes time.
Dermatologists who don’t have the time or the inclination to write might delegate and oversee the task. Some dermatologists delegate the responsibility to a staff member, while others outsource to social media and marketing consultants and companies.
“If you don’t have somebody to do social media, hire somebody at least in the beginning to build your plan for the first few months-until you know what you’re doing,” Redsicker says. “It’s my experience that social media is often a secondary thought. Social media is not only a priority, but you really need somebody whose first priority and sole focus is sourcing these stories and then distributing [the content] to social media. That’s really important because for as long as you underestimate social media-giving it second or third priority-it is never going to give the results that you want.”
Content varies according to the platform and audience. Twitter, for example, only allows 140 characters. That includes links.
Blogging allows dermatologists to communicate at more length. Blogs become an extension of the doctor’s expertise, professionalism, approach to medicine and, even, personality.
“That blog that you establish as a doctor-as a dermatologist-is how you communicate your expertise and show people you really are the best at what you do. But it also helps to make you a trustworthy person, really willing to tell people how they can improve their lives and solve their problems,” Redsicker says.
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Facebook posts might be more along the lines of practice announcements, with photos or videos, as well as patient updates on what’s new in skin care and more.
Dermatologists can get the general style of content on different platforms by following dermatologists whom they respect and want to emulate, to see what kinds of information they post on the various platforms.
Keep in mind, though, the online information dermatologists offer should be general, educational and not personal medical advice, Redsicker notes.